Date of Award


Document Type

MA Project - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Project Type

MA Project - Curatorial Proposal

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Jonathan Clancy


Johannes Vermeer produced only thirty-seven paintings during his lifetime according to the majority of the scholarly community today. But if one looks at the literature on Vermeer written by nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholars and tallies all of the paintings that were attributed to the hand of Vermeer, his collective body of work – his oeuvre – numbers over 150 artworks. The difference between this amount and the number of works that are actually by the artist is significant and clearly demonstrates a transformation in the way we understand Vermeer’s art and career.

Learning Johannes Vermeer: The Evolution of His Oeuvre places actual Vermeer works beside misattributions featuring similar stylistic, technical, or iconographic elements in order to illuminate the difficulties that scholars, past and present, face when attempting to determine whether or not a painting belongs to Vermeer. Additionally, this exhibition elaborates on how academic concerns over the size and themes featured within his oeuvre contributed to its overwrought expansion during the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries. Ultimately, Learning Johannes Vermeer, in conjunction with the Vermeer Database sponsored by the Frick Art Reference Library, endeavors to teach visitors about the history of Vermeer scholarship, and by so doing, grant them a greater appreciation for the challenges that accompany the development of knowledge.